Having spent the last 9 years as Wellness Director of Psychologies Magazine, writer and therapist Eminé Rushton has swapped her 9-5 for a slower approach to life that is rooted in Ayurveda. Focusing on natural living, low-waste and low-cost living, Eminé grows a lot of her own food, makes and mends clothes and tries to live a more simplified life along with her husband Paul.
To share their journey and what they have learned along the way, the couple have a blog under the name ‘This Conscious Life’, which features recipes, rituals and articles focused on this way of life. They have also recently launched their first book, ‘Sattva: The Ayurvedic Way to Live Well’, telling their story and offering advice on how to move away from urban living to a more fulfilling lifestyle.
Eager to hear how we too can simplify our lives, we got in touch with Eminé to hear her thoughts on the rituals she implements to maintain a balanced life and what that means for her.
What is a balanced lifestyle for you?
I think the most balanced we can be in our approach to life is to understand that we cannot control things that happen around us – but we can consciously choose how we respond to them. If a day is unexpectedly challenging, balance comes from slower, gentler, more nourishing practices – loving our selves better. For me that might be 30 minutes of Yoga Nidra (beautiful yogic meditation, ‘Yogic Sleep’), a rose bath, a cup of tea and a great book, or just sitting out under the moon. It’s about listening to all that we feel and responding with what we need.
A good morning can allegedly set you up for a good day. How do you start your mornings well?
Ah, yes, I very much believe this. In Ayurveda, we celebrate Brahma Muhurta – ‘god’s hour’ – the golden time before sunrise, when we get to awaken as the sun too prepares to rise. I try to wake between 5 and 6am, I cleanse my mouth & tongue (with a gentle tongue scraping), wash my face gently with warm water, and then sit with a cup of hot water and perhaps some fresh lime or fresh ginger if my system feels cold, damp and sluggish. I sit in silence, as my family are all still asleep, and meditate for 20 minutes. When I come around, the sun is rising and I feel as though I’ve had this special, secret time all to myself, to allow my mind to awaken slowly and my body to come into its self. The difference on the days when I don’t rise early and meditate is quite tangible.
How do you focus and avoid procrastination?
I do not always manage this! I’m an inherent daydreamer… always allowing my mind to fly off and away, but I think that this is important too, as it allows us time to unravel our problems and seek solutions in more creative ways. I write a simple short list each evening, which helps me remember what needs to be done the next day, and I work in short stints – no more than an hour each time, before getting up and breaking things up with some time outside, a cup of tea, a stretch, a good lunch. There’s no point pushing through as we’re certainly not made to be ever-efficient… a good mind-clearing walk always restores focus to my mind and I return to my desk clear & energised.
What energises you?
Time outside – lots of fresh air, sunshine, movement. Also, eating as much homegrown food as we’re able to harvest and in season.
How do you relax, both physically and mentally?
Just sitting still in silence is the most relaxing thing I can do. Avoiding the urge to always fill time with an activity or pursuit. I love reading, yoga, meditating, bathing, walking in nature – and all are deeply restorative – but it’s the time when I sit alone, in peace, that I really decompress and breathe.
Do you feel that reflection is an important part of happiness?
I think that we have a very skewed idea of happiness, which is based on getting the things we dream about – that sense that happiness is just around the next corner, if only we can make it that far. For me, reflecting on all that is wonderful in my life, moment by moment, and openly giving thanks, is a really big part of remaining positive and receptive to even more goodness. I see so many people who are surrounded by blessings, yet their minds focus on their problems. Perception and awareness is the key – and yes, reflection helps take us there.
Which small moments hold weight for you?
Ah, so many. Picking herbs and making tea. Kissing my children on their lips. Listening to their stories as they return from school. Running a bath. Ink on a new page. Seeing the sun rise. The list is endless.
How do you get out of a bad mood?
Getting outside and out of a ‘stuck’ feeling is useful – I can feel quite low if I’ve spent entire days working at my desk, and haven’t had any connection with the outside world – particularly the garden and what’s growing around us. Sometimes though, it’s most helpful to just say out loud – particularly if I am with family and they want to know what’s going on with me – ‘I’m feeling really cross today. I am not totally sure why, but I just feel frustrated and annoyed and tetchy. I know it will pass – just like a dark cloud – and in the meantime, I apologise for not being a nicer person to be around.’ Often those words & that acknowledgement completely dispels the feeling in the first place!
You can visit This Conscious Life online here.
Images via This Conscious Life.